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The best drip coffee maker under $100 - advice from an expert barista

Speciality coffee doesn't need to cost hundreds, the Bodum Bistro Programmable makes delicious coffee and it's only $50

The best drip coffee maker under $100, the Bodum Bistro Programmable Coffee Maker
(Image credit: Bodum)

It's true, you can spend thousands on good coffee makers, but you don't need to. One of the best drip coffee makers I've ever tested costs just $50: the Bodum Bistro Programmable.

It's sleek, well-designed and easy to use, rivalling some my favorite drip coffee makers on the market. Sure, there aren't lots of fancy features, but if you want a strong, flavorful, simple cup of filter coffee, why spend more than $50?

Before you think I've been blinded by the price, I should say, I'm a trained barista. I'm actually pretty fussy about coffee and I wasn't expecting much from the Bodum. However, within five minutes of using this machine, I was sure that this is one of the best coffee makers for those shopping on a budget.

Best drip coffee maker under $100

Bodum Bistro Programmable coffee maker

(Image credit: Bodum)

If you look at our roundup of the best drip coffee makers on the market, you'll see the OXO 8 Cup ($178), Moccamaster Technivorm KGBV Select ($359), Breville Precision Thermal Brewer ($329.95), Smeg Drip Coffee Machine ($229.95): I think you get the idea. A good drip coffee maker should cost you hundreds of dollars, so why is the Bodum Bistro only $48? 

I asked myself the same question. I also wanted to know if it 'was worth buying something that cheap, as at that price, it doesn't seem like it would be any good. After taking it to our test kitchen and putting it through rigorous rounds of tests I have the answers to all of those questions and more.

Before I get into the details, here are the statistics you need to know. They'll tell you if it's too tall for your cupboards (potentially) , too spacious for single-servings (it's perfect for 1-12 cups), or not powerful enough to keep your coffee warm all day long (probably).

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Dimensions11.63 x 7.75 x 16 inches
Capacity12 cups
Weight5.7 lbs
Power950 watts
MaterialsStainless steel, silicone, glass, plastic
FilterStainless steel (re-usable)

Why is it good?

Bodum Bistro Programmable coffee maker

(Image credit: Bodum)

If all that looks good you, I'll get into my experience with the Bodum. The machine is minimalistic. The smooth, curved edges look like they should cost a little more like $150. A combination of borosilicate glass, soft-grip silicone, and stainless steel makes this feel like a pretty durable machine. Sat on the countertop, I was surprised at how much I liked it. My only caution goes to those with low wall cupboards: this is quite tall and, if you want to open the lid, you'll need to pull it out with quite some clearance.

Using the Bodum is easy. It has a timer, a 24 hour programmable setting, and a few simple coffee modes. It meets these basic promises perfectly. When I used the pre-brew function, my coffee was ready to the minute. Whether I made one or twelve cups, they were all strong, flavorful, and surprisingly delicate in flavors. I suspected this would be the case as soon as I saw the shower-style water dispensing head. The idea behind this is that it saturates your coffee grounds evenly, meaning you get a smoother, more balanced cup of coffee, which I did. 

From start to finish, the most noise the machine made was a gentle bubble as the water boiled. When I was caffeinated and content with my tests, it was easy to clean too. The stainless steel filter is completely reusable and removable, so you won't need to re-invest in single-use paper ones. Overall, as a basic coffee maker, this is pretty good. 

Things you should know

Bodum Bistro pour over and grinder

(Image credit: Bodum)

Even though I thought this was a great basic model, I have to emphasise the 'basic' part of that description. Compared to other drip models in our roundup, the Bodum lacks detail and finesse. For example, the Breville Thermal Brewer, has six different settings, including cold brew. On the other hand, the Bodum has just two. If you don't want to drink exactly the same coffee every day (who does?) you'll have to buy different beans or use a different machine, which is far from ideal.

Even though the whole set-up process was straightforward, there were some small details that I would find frustrating in the long-term. For example, the reservoir is fixed at the back of the appliance, so you can't stick it under the facuet. You'll need to fill a jug with filtered water and pour very carefully into a slightly awkward opening. I split water down the side, which didn't seem to matter, but is a bit annoying. 

Also, whilst I love the pre-set function, once your coffee is brewed, you'll need to drink it quickly. For example, the Smeg keep warm function worked all day without my coffee tasting stale, bitter or burnt. The Bodum could last only three hours and even that was a stretch. This has the potential to result in a lot of wasted coffee and waiting around for a new pot to brew, both of which are frustrating. In the context of $50, these aren't huge compromises to make, but that doesn't mean that you should.

Alternatives to the Bodum

Bodum French Press on a countertop

(Image credit: Bodum)

If, after all that, you're not sure the Bodum drip coffee maker is quite the right drip coffee maker for you, there are plenty more options. If your budget can stretch a little further, it's worth looking at our buying guide for the best drip coffee makers. If not, you might want to consider some alternative methods, such as pour-over coffee.

FAQs

How much should I spend on a drip coffee maker?

The best drip coffee makers tend to start at $150 and can cost up to $350. Much more than that, and you're overpaying. Much less, and you'll probably end up with a cheap machine. The one exception is the Bodum Programmable, which feels durable, even if the settings are relatively simple.

What's the best drip coffee maker under $100?

How we test

Bodum Bistro Programmable Coffee Maker carafe makking coffee

(Image credit: Future)

Our coffee maker tests are rigorous at Homes & Gardens. Before we recommend any coffee maker to you, it has to go to our test kitchen. There, our team of experts have a series of standardized tests, where we record the usability, special features, and clear-up of every coffee maker. We'll also make sure that the coffee it brews tastes exceptional. 

After making notes of everything and anything, we put our heads together to decide whether it deserves a spot in our buying guide for the best coffee makers. We'll compare it to all the other models we've tested and decide where it stands. At this point, we'll let you know any quirks or unusual features that it would be helpful to hear before buying a machine. That way, when one arrives at your door, you won't be disappointed. If you'd like to know more about the whole process, you can visit our how we test coffee makers page.

Final thoughts

For under $50, Bodum's Bistro Programmable Coffee Maker is a bargain. It's the cheapest drip coffee maker worth buying. 

Even though the functions are basic, it makes delicious coffee, feels durable and looks sleek. If you're keen to find out more about the Bodum, you can read my full review which goes into deep detail of our tests. 

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.